Friday, December 19, 2008

all about the beans....

I think that the comment about "S" and her reaction to my dried beans caused an uproar. I rec'd many e-mails about beans, what to do with them. Apparently people were reluctant to post their comments because they didn't want to look stupid. One lady said, "Not everyone knows how to cook beans, Suzanne!!"

Well....I hear ya! So I am going to show you how I cook mine. I grew up eating beans. Every week. My dad was Hispanic and beans to a Hispanic are a lifeline. My mom, who was not Hispanic, could cook some mean beans. She should be an Honorary Mexican, I swear....She even had the magical BEAN POT. It was an old aluminum pot that she'd bought at a garage sale for $0.25, it didn't even have a knob on the lid so she had to use a long fork to lift the lid. But oh my gosh, the magic that came from the bean pot. Makes my mouth water just thinkin' about it.....I do things differently than my mom: I use my Crockpot.

So here's how I do it:

1# bag of dried pinto beans
A handful of onions (I use frozen because I don’t like to cut my own)
Salt & pepper
And a spoonful of chopped green chiles (optional but really does boost the flavor)

1. Cover beans with water, several inches and soak them overnight. Soaking beans cuts down on the cooking time and some say, makes them easier to digest. Soaking will not reduce the flatulent nature of beans, as that comes from the fiber content (which is very high in beans).
2. After you’ve rinsed your beans off and discarded the soak water, put them in your Crockpot and cover them with some more water. Add a handful of chopped onions, a spoonful of chopped green chiles and some pepper. I save my salt for later.
3. Cook on Low heat for at least 8 hours, stirring them up every couple of hours.
4. After they’re done cooking and they’re softened and muddy-looking (don’t know how else to describe it), get your stove-top pot ready.

Stove-pot part:
1. Heat a few tablespoons of lard or grease in a big pot. Do not use spray Pam. Use grease! You are frying the beans.
2. When grease is popping hot, use a slotted spoon to drop your fully cooked beans into the hot grease. It WILL pop back at you so wear sleeves and do not allow children to handle this step.
3. After you’ve added all of the cooked beans, add a cup of the liquid and then use a potato masher to mash up your fried beans. If you want a nice smooth restaurant quality, use a handheld mixer to whip them up while still cooking in the pot.

4. Add some more pepper and finally your salt. If you salt the beans earlier, some say it toughens them. I usually just wait to this step so I don't oversalt.

Why Beans?

o Beans are cheap.
o Beans have big health benefits:
major source of soluble fiber, high in protein, low in fat, and high in taste.
o Beans are also good for your heart.
They contain potassium, which can reduce the risk of strokes and high blood pressure.
o Beans have a low glycemic index (GCI).
o Beans are easy to prepare.
o Beans are easy to store.
o Beans are relatively easy to find at your local grocer.

My husband LOVES beans. (I am going to make him an Honorary Mexican, too....) I make my own tortillas so he can eat himself into a coma with the beans and the tortillas. You guys ought to stop by our house for Cinco de Mayo 2009. We are ALREADY planning....

For some other recipes, click here for delicious bean and lentil recipes . I don't know much about lentils. My friend Angela knows about them so I am going to ask her to teach me.

Other really good recipes:

Frijoles Borrachos and this is the THE recipe spot for beans Top Ten List. Makes me hungry just looking at it!


the other lion said...

Thanks! We get beans from WIC and I never get them because I don't know what to do with them!

Anonymous said...

fine.. you sold me...I HAVE to make chili beans this weekend got me drooling for

SB said...

oh Lion, I love WIC.

We had it in Alaska...(I miss it.)..everywhere I was invited, I brought a cheese platter! HA!

Christy said...

We make our beans differently! :) Here's what we do...for Great Northern OR Black Beans...

I don't soak the Northern, but the Black beans are often recommended because they're a "harder" bean.

Take a hamhock, some dried onions, salt and pepper, and throw it all into the crock pot (beans too of course) and cover with water. Turn on the crock pot and cook for 6-8 hours.

For Great Northern Beans we actually go VERY unhealthy and cook up good old Fried potatoes and serve with them. With black beans we serve with rice.

I can also get the beans on WIC! :) :)

Catherine said...

My neighbor was Brazilean. They would have beans and rice with salad, regularly. They would use different types of beans, cook them till they were soft, about the consistency of canned bean. They would flavor with a little sugar, or salad dressing, pepper, you name it. With salad, they are quite good.

Some bean favorites of mine are white bean soup with escarole (I use wilted romaine instead), lentil curry, red beans with a touch of brown sugar with salad, black bean with rice.

SB, I'd love to see your sausage and beans with corn bread recipe.